The nuclear industry has some of the most extreme environments in the world, with radiation levels and extremely harsh conditions restraining human access to many facilities.
Yet to date, robotic systems have had very little impact on the industry, even though it is clear that they offer major opportunities for improving productivity and significantly reducing risks to human health.
The RAIN initiative has been created to address these issues by developing the advanced robotics and artificial intelligence that will be essential for future nuclear operations. Their adoption will have the potential to completely transform the nuclear industry globally.
At the same time it is envisaged that the reliable, functional robotic systems that are the programme’s goal will also have important applications in other sectors. These will extend beyond extreme environments such as space exploration, in-orbit satellite design, offshore operations and mining to include less challenging areas where RAIN research will be highly relevant, such as healthcare and autonomous vehicles.
The programme’s overall objectives are to lower costs within the nuclear industry, reduce timescales, reduce risk, improve safety, promote remote inspection and reduce the chances of human exposure to radiation and other hazards. Once developed, the technologies that will help to realise these objectives are to form the foundation of a world-leading robotic and AI research and innovation ecosystem.